Plum brandy update and poached pears

The long days at work are far from over which leaves very little time for baking and cooking.  Thankfully I have a recipe working away even while I'm not at home.  My plum brandy is happily marinating away in the corner of my dining room, getting sweeter and fruitier every day.  I opened up the jar the other day to taste my progress and, what a difference!  The almost harsh brandy taste is almost completely gone.  It now tastes like delicious, sweet, spicy, smooth, and fruity brandy.  All that after only a few weeks!  I can only imagine what this will taste like in December (by which time I'm sure I'll have decided I have waited long enough and will want a real taste).  Some of the plums have kind of lost their color which can only mean that they are not only graciously giving their flavor to the brandy but also donated their beautiful purple color.


Along with my other farmers' market purchases I also bought pears.  If you give me an apple and a pear I will usually reach for the apple.  For some reason the crispy crunch you get from an apple is simply more satisfying to me than the grainy nature of a pear.  One way I do like pears though, and I feel almost silly saying this, is poached in wine.  After all, who wouldn't agree with me on that one?  I was watching a show called French Food at Home about a woman who "quit the corporate life and moved to Paris to learn how to cook" (how lovely...) and watched her make an incredibly simple poached pear recipe that I just had to try.  This recipe takes a while but couldn't be easier.  Not only its flavors completely embody fall and makes you look like an accomplished cook, it fill your house or apartment with an amazing mulled wine smell.
Poached Pears in Wine
from French Food at Home on Cooking Channel
(4) Bosc pears
(1) bottle of red wine
1/2 cup of honey


Pick 4 pears (or like in my case 3) that are relatively firm.  You don't want them falling apart while cooking in the wine.  Peel them but keep the stems on.
Pour the bottle of red wine you have selected into an oven proof baking dish that has a cover on it.  Le Creuset pots are perfect for this.  Turn the heat of your stove onto medium and mix in the honey and let it melt into the wine.  I used less than 1/2 a cup, more like 1/4 cup.  I don't love really sweet desserts and figured the pears would have plenty of sugar.  (NOTE: here you could add spices like cinnamon sticks, or star anise, a vanilla bean maybe?)  Add your peeled pears.  The wine should only cover them about half way.  That's OK.  You will turn them every hour or so, so they absorb the wine equally and evenly.
Turn the heat up until the wine starts to boil.
Put the pot, with the lid/cover on, into your oven, set at 250 degrees.  The temperature is very low but you will be cooking the pears for anywhere from 3-5 hours so you don't want it too hot.
I cooked mine for 3 hours, turning the pears every hour.  By the time they were done their naked white bodies had turned a beautiful burgundy red.
Remove the pears and put the pot of wine back on the stove.  Turn the heat up to high and let the mixture boil until it had reduced by more than half.  It should be a dark red syrup when you are done.
Drizzle it over the pears and enjoy.


The sweet syrupy wine is just so incredibly good.  I have some leftover and I am trying to figure out what else I could drizzle it on because throwing it away seems like a shame.  Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. The brandy looked amazing in your apartment, fun to see it. You can bring some in December or January. Will have to try your soup and pear recipes.